|A medical staff instructs local people using insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria in central highlands province of Gia Lai. — Photo chinhphu.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Health experts voiced concern that reduced funding from the State Budget and international donors would cause a lessening of efforts to prevent the spread of malaria in Viet Nam.
At a national conference on sustainable investment for malaria prevention this morning, participants noted that Viet Nam would face a high risk of malaria outbreaks, as reductions in the spread of malaria in the country might prove to be unsustainable.
The health ministry's Preventive Medicine Department director, Tran Dac Phu, said that a reduction of 50 per cent in State budget funding during 2014-15, along with less international financing in the coming years, would threaten the continuation of reducing malaria in Viet Nam.
"Increased population movements, trade exchanges between regions, especially in the Indochina region, and Artemisinin resistant malaria found in many areas, have become a major challenge for malaria control and elimination efforts in the region, including in Viet Nam," said Phu.
Mobilising enough financial resources at national and international levels would be an important step in reducing malaria infections and fatality rates, and step-by-step eliminating malaria in Viet Nam and the region in the coming years," added Phu.
The National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology director Tran Thanh Duong estimated that Viet Nam would need total funding of more than VND1.75 trillion (US$82 million), including $48.3 million from international donors, for malaria prevention programmes during 2016-20.
The institute's statistics showed that malaria infection rates had fallen to 3/10,000 people in 2014, from 155/10,000 people in 1991. Also, the number of malaria fatalities had been reduced to 6 last year, compared to nearly 5,000 in the 1990s.
Some 11 million people have been protected annually thanks to the use of mosquito killing insecticides, along with about 1 million doses of malaria medicine being provided free of charge to those living in malaria-infested areas.
The World Health Organisation reports that malaria remains a major cause of death and illness in the world, with an estimated nearly 200 million annual cases and some 600,000 deaths each year. Countries sharing borders with Viet Nam reported 4,000 to greater than 41,000 malaria infections in 2013. — VNS